WATCHING whales, fish and even sharks is good for health and wellbeing, according to researchers from the University of York.

And scientists from the institution will be using technology to test the effects of watching marine life on visitors to the Endless Ocean exhibit at The Deep aquarium in Hull.

People will be monitored using a real-time heart rate and brain cap device, which records electrical activity.

Dr Duncan Williams, from the university's Digital Creativity Labs, said: “Exercise is only one aspect of being healthy. Increasingly mental ‘fitness’ is being recognised as integral to our general wellbeing, but this is much harder for us to quantify, much less for us to understand what actions to take once we have a measure to use.

“With current technology and some advanced, non-invasive neurological monitoring, we aim to explore our physiological responses to two aquarium scenes, augmented with music.

“We aim to explore how music can enhance our physiological responses to such scenes, and how the different aquarium scenes might be useful to explore the calming effects of marine exhibits more widely.”

As part of the experiment, visitors will be ask to use a meditation technique to calm their thoughts and lower their heart rate. Their measurements will then be displayed on a leaderboard so participants can compare scores.

Dr Deborah Cracknell, from the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "“Watching aquatic animals has been shown to change the way people feel at a given time, and we are now beginning to understand the importance of making time to stop and watch and the beneficial effects it can have on our general wellbeing.”